No Reserve: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

The previous owner of this 1971 Corvette Convertible used the classic as a daily driver for years before parking it in a shed. It is unclear how long it hibernated, but I believe the duration could be measured in decades. It has emerged from hiding as a solid candidate for a faithful restoration. The seller listed it here on eBay in Miami, Florida. Bidding has raced to $7,400 in a No Reserve auction. That means this ‘Vette will head to a new home and a second chance at life in a few days.

There’s a bit to unpack with this Corvette, which isn’t the first we’ve seen from this seller. It wears what appears to be its original Mille Miglia Red paint, although the White stripes are a later addition that I would gladly consign to the trash. The paint is as tired as you might expect from a vehicle that has sat for decades, and a fresh coat will make a huge difference. The fiberglass generally looks pretty reasonable, although the last photo in this article reveals what appears to be a substantial crack in the driver’s side rear quarter. If that’s the case, it may require the attention of a specialist to perform a high-quality repair. The condition of the White soft-top matches the rest of the exterior, meaning that the vinyl is past its “best before” date. Delving below the surface reveals the frame wearing nothing beyond mild surface corrosion. If it’s the same story with the birdcage, that makes this classic structurally sound. There are no missing trim pieces, and the glass looks excellent.

Considering the state of the soft-top, the Corvette’s interior looks surprisingly good. It will never win any show trophies in its current form, but it is serviceable. The carpet is long gone, but there are no other missing interior components. Surprisingly, there are also no later additions. The previous owner used the car during their college days, so it would have been fair to expect the factory AM/FM radio to make way for an aftermarket stereo. That hasn’t happened, meaning the buyer could return the interior to its factory-fresh state. The shopping list will be long because it will include carpet, seatcovers, door trims, and a few plastic components. As well as the optional radio, the original owner equipped this classic with power windows and air conditioning. The compressor is missing from under the hood, but I think that rest of the system is intact.

When I first looked at the supplied photos of this Corvette, I wondered whether its “nose-up” attitude might signal an empty engine bay. However, that is far from the case. This classic retains its numbers-matching ZQ3 version of the 350ci V8. This legendary small-block would have sent 270hp to the rear wheels via a three-speed Hydramatic transmission. The combination may have been the most sedate within the Corvette range, but it still allowed the car to cover the ¼ mile in 15.6 seconds. It may not have placed it in muscle car territory, but the original owner’s decision to order it with power assistance for the steering and brakes would have made it as relaxed in the city as it was on the open road. After years in storage, it’s no surprise this classic doesn’t run or drive. It rolls and steers for loading, but, like the rest of the car, it needs some mechanical TLC. If the engine turns freely, the bulletproof nature of the Chevrolet small-block means it may not take much work to coax it back to life.

By the time this Corvette emerged from the showroom, manufacturers had begun to take steps to allow their engines to cope with lower-octane fuels. This strategy reduced engine power, but even in its most conservative form, the ’71 Corvette still offered enough performance to satisfy most buyers. This one spent years in storage, but it is a structurally sound survivor that would make a satisfying DIY project. With values continuing to climb ahead of the market average, it could perfectly combine an enjoyable classic motoring experience with an excellent long-term investment. I can’t think of a negative to that scenario.


  1. RMac

    Looks like the rare off road pkg LOL not just nose high all 4 high beside the awful stripes cheesy wheel covers and auto it is a metal bumper vette

    Like 1
    • Ed Jennings

      Those “cheesy” wheel covers were a pretty expensive option.

      Like 14
      • Old Beach Guy

        Yep. Those caps were the PO2 option.

        Like 4
      • Larry D

        Yes, those wheel covers were an option. No, they were not expensive. They were $63. That translates to $472 today. There were 3007 Corvettes equipped with them in 1971. It was designated the “P02” option.

        Two things about them; they are HEAVY!! And the good news is that behind those heavy wheel covers are regular, good old, everyday Rally Wheels.

        Like 7
      • Old Beach Guy

        Larry is right. They were heavy. A little more trivia, the same caps were offered on the Monte Carlo and the Rivera. The Monte Carlo had a cheap looking flat center. The Rivera had the same raised center as the Corvette except it had the “R” Rivera logo instead of the crossed flags like the Corvette ones.

        Like 4
    • Glen

      I had those fake wire wheel covers on my every option 71 Vette I used to have. Looked great with the steel city gray!

      Like 6
      • Old Beach Guy

        Me too. I had a set on my 71 sunflower yellow/light saddle roadster. I like them.

        Like 4
      • Frank Sumatra

        @Glen- I remember the GM brocure images depicting those wheels. I always thought they looked classy and changed the character of the car to that of a Grand Touring car versus a drag racer. Steel Cities Gray is an amazing color on a 71.

  2. Greg

    Looks like another wonderful flood car…why else would someone have ripped out the carpet? Rusty inside air cleaner snorkel?

    Like 7
  3. SRW

    Long time reader here but only the second time I’ve ever commented. Regarding Rmacs comments about the wheel covers. I think those wheel covers might be factory original covers. I remember seeing covers like that on an old brochure for an early 70s Corvette.

    Like 1
    • Larry D

      I addressed the issue of these wheel covers above. Here is a copy and paste:

      “Yes, those wheel covers were an option. No, they were not expensive. They were $63. That translates to $472 today. There were 3007 Corvettes equipped with them in 1971. It was designated the “P02” option.

      Two things about them; they are HEAVY!! And the good news is that behind those heavy wheel covers are regular, good old, everyday Rally Wheels.”

      Like 3
      • Ed Jennings

        I had those on my 71. I don’t know if you could find $471 wheel covers today. If you did, I’d think almost $500 for wheel covers would be pretty pricey. Never been a fan of the rally wheels.

    • Rico

      You are absolutely correct. In 1971 my brother bought, at the time, the most expensive Corvette ever sold up to that time in Rochester, NY. He checked virtually every option from the LT-1 350, close ratio 4sp, leather interior, air conditioning and climate control, am/fm/cassette, the factory alarm system and I really don’t know what all else.
      He shelled out $7450 for it including those horrendous wheel covers.
      He had the car for about 3 years, drove it a total of 1800, yes, eighteen hundred miles, and sold it for something like $1500 more than he paid for it.

      Like 2
      • Larry D

        Air conditioning was not available on a 1971 LT-1. Climate control wasn’t available on any Corvette in ’71. Cassette wasn’t available in ’71 either.

        Like 2
  4. Ike Onick

    Glad the owner drove it on a daily basis. Now, as far as it being sold in Florida- I guess I have to blame it on “Miami Vice”, but I would not buy any motorized device domiciled there. I have this burned-in image of every seller as a grifter on the lookout for the next sucker. “Cover me, Tubbs!”

    Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      P.S. The background of the lede image doesn’t help the sales pitch. “Sketchy” at best.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Ike, Barn Finds specializes in covering every single Corvette this guy sells. So, this background will start to look very familiar.

      I’m sure that most of these Corvettes did not live in FL, rather, this seller picks them up cheaply because nothing he sells can be considered in anything more than “worn out” condition.

  5. RMac

    Yeah I know the wheel covers were optional and expensive but still cheesy disco dishes To each their own just my opinion

    Like 1
  6. Comet

    The front end will drop down to a reasonable height once the snow plow is mounted.

    Like 4
  7. Larry D

    Here we are with that same ebay seller and one of these Corvettes he sells all the time. I wonder where he finds them. They all are of the same caliber. They all look like long-time neglected cars which, as many have said, could possible been in a flood situation.

    Like 3
    • drew

      I have asked the same question here before, where does this guy dig up all these Vettes. I remember finding title info on one of them and it was from Illinois?

      Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Me three. Same seller, same crappy Corvettes.

      If I had read the comments a bit further down, I wouldn’t have had to post exactly the same comment as Larry D.

  8. John Guthrie

    I dont get what is wrong with the bumpers? All the newer c3’s have no bumpers I own a 70 convertible 350hp 350 numbers match guess it’s an Lt1? I love the chrome bumpers may be useless but they look nice.

    Like 2
  9. Larry D

    @John Guthrie

    A 1970 350 with 350 HP is an L-46. The LT-1 has 370 HP. It has solid lifters and a more radical camshaft.

    Like 2
  10. Rico

    Larry D, if all you have to do with your time is keep studying what options were available on a car from 50+ years ago, I truly feel sorry for you.
    That being said, my brother 71 LT-1 most definitely had air conditioning.
    I’m not really sure what you’re studying, but I saw the compressor attached to the engine of the BRAND NEW CAR.
    Perhaps your studies are a tad bit off.

    • Allen

      Hey Rico..
      Why is the body riding high anyway. Isn’t that kind of weird?

      • Rico

        I have absolutely no idea. Do you?

    • Ralph

      Your posts reads “air conditioning AND climate control” implying that it had some sort of automatic temperature control which Corvette’s didn’t have until the C4 in the mid 1980’s.

      Like 1
  11. Larry D

    I copied and pasted this from Corvette Forum:

    1971 LT1 with a/c???
    Reply Subscribe

    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 09-08-2017, 01:52 PM #1
    2nd Gear

    Thread Starter

    Member Since: Sep 2017
    Location: Marietta Ga.
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0
    Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
    Default 1971 LT1 with a/c???
    I have a friend who clains to have a ’71 LT1 with a/c. Matching #’s car that he says could have been a dealer special order car. It also has red ext with saddle interior which would have also been special order. What are the chances this is a “real” car if he doesnt have a build sheet or tank sticker?
    vetteguy72 is offline Reply Like

    Old 09-08-2017, 02:04 PM #2
    Race Director

    MelWff’s Avatar

    Member Since: May 2006
    Posts: 14,764
    Likes: 128
    Received 1,431 Likes on 1,298 Posts

    1972 was the only year AC was available on an LT1. Check the engine code on the cylinder block pad in front of the passenger side head to confirm it is an LT1.

    Like 1
  12. RMac

    Rici am sure you saw a compressor but are
    You sure your brothers was an LT-1 or did he just TELL you it was an LT-1 because all documentation says Larry is correct
    My older told me(and convinced me) until I was 5 , that I was adopted
    What a brother says does not always make it true LOL just saying !
    And if it was an LT 1 w ac it must have been aftermarket dealer installed
    But since no cruise or climate was available on vettes in 71 it would have been tough to get those and make it look stick

    Like 1
    • Rico

      It had the LT-1 decal on the engine hood scoop. As I said it was brand new. It could have been a 72, I just remember him buying it in 71. What month? No idea.
      I’ve only owned 1 Corvette in my life, and I actually gave it to a girl that kept hanging around and wouldn’t leave.
      It was an 86, and the most God awful uncomfortable riding vehicle I’ve ever been in.
      Personally I prefer Porsches, and 356C’s to be specific.

      Like 1
  13. Greg Grandberry

    Good job Larry 😊

    Like 1
    • Larry D

      Thank you, Greg. I only speak the facts.

      Like 5
  14. Carbob Member

    I too had these “cheesy” wheel covers on my ‘72. I went back and forth with these and the trim rings and center caps. As others have said they are heavy. I liked them. To each there own.

    Like 1
  15. Frank Sumatra

    Those in the “cheesy” wheel camp should take a peek at the wheels on the 1963 listed recently. Then take a look at the 1982 Collector Edition wheels.

  16. erik johnston

    I bought the 72 the same guy said he bought 4 from a previous owner. I hope the 7.2 is decent It is a 4spd and i wont mention the price,but it was far.

  17. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    According to the tank sticker, my ’70 came with these wheel covers, so I was on a mission to find a decent OEM set without spending a fortune.

    Then, I realized that I really liked the look of the center caps that were on it, and my car was never going to be a trophy winner anyway. I just thought that they would give them a different look than every Vette that wore rallys.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.